TOMMY JACKSON first came to prominence in unlikely circumstances. Aged just 20, Glentoran’s defence-minded midfielder was called upon to man-mark Eusebio in the Northern Ireland club's October 1967 European Cup first round second leg tie with Benfica. In a performance of magnificent obduracy, Jackson repelled the Portugese centre forward, leaving him to feed for scraps as his club earned an improbable goalless draw. Having drawn the first leg 1-1 in Belfast, however, Glentoran were the first club to fall victim to UEFA's away-goals rule. Jackson, however, had made his name and four months later joined Everton for £9000.
Solid and dependable, Jackson was drafted in as cover for Everton’s famous midfield triumvirate. Among his first and most high-profile action was to serve as Alan Ball’s replacement in the FA Cup semi-final with Leeds two months after joining.
ALL afternoon he scrapped and harried, subduing Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles as Everton sealed a 1-0 win. Called upon to deputise for Howard Kendall and Colin Harvey in 1969/70, he provided dependable cover and played on enough occasions to collect a Championship medal.
Alas, his performances were never quite good enough to make an Everton shirt his own and he left Everton in October 1970 as part of the £150,000 deal that brought Henry Newton to Goodison. He spent a spell at Manchester United mid-decade before returning to Northern Ireland as player-manager of Waterford. Through the 1980s and early 1990s, Jackson was a hugely successful manager in the province before his career petered out.